The Fall Championship Meeting at Belmont Park gets underway on Friday, a 38-day meeting that features 42 stakes races with over $10 million in purses including six Breeders’ Cup Challenge races.
There are 21 graded stakes on tap at the meeting which features a pair of “Super Saturday” cards that will serve as major preps for the Breeders’ Cup, which will be held at Santa Anita this year on Nov. 4-5.
The first is Joe Hirsch Classic Day on Oct. 1. There are five graded stakes on the card including the $500,000 Joe Hirsch Classic (G1), a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) and the $350,000 Vosburgh (G1), which is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).
Also on the card are the $400,000 Beldame (G1), $300,000 Gallant Bloom (G2) and the $200,000 Pilgrim (G3).
The biggest day of the fall meeting is on Oct. 8 which is Jockey Club Gold Cup Day which features six graded stakes including four Breeders’ Cup Challenge races.
The $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) serves as a major prep for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). Juveniles will go in the $500,000 Champagne (G1) and $400,000 Frizette, both Breeders’ Cup Challenge races for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) respectively.
The $500,000 Flower Bowl (G1) winner stamps a ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1). Rounding out the card are the $150,000 Turf Sprint Invitational, $500,000 Hill Prince (G3) and $350,000 Kelso (G2).
New York breds take center stage on Oct. 22 for Showcase Day. There are eight stakes restricted to state breds including the $300,0000 Empire Classic.
Live racing will be conducted Wednesdays through Sundays, with first race post time at 1:30 p.m. through Sunday, October 2, after which first race post time will be 12:55 p.m.
The top two jockeys from the recently concluded Saratoga meeting will miss some action at the beginning of the meeting.
Jose Ortiz was the top jock at the Spa with 65 winners, but will sit out the first three days of the meeting, serving suspension for a careless ride aboard Paz the Wine on Aug. 25.
His brother Irad, who was second in the jockey standings at Saratoga with 57 winners will start a five-day suspension on Friday. He rode Recruiting Ready, who finished second in the Saratoga Special (G2) but was disqualified to fourth for causing interference.
Michael Dempsey’s full card reports for the entire 38-day Belmont Park Fall Championship Meet (from Sept. 9 to Oct. 30) which includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations.